Kari Plog | KNKX

Kari Plog

Digital Content Manager

Kari Plog is an eager newcomer to public radio and a longtime admirer. Her background as a print journalist started at The News Tribune in Tacoma, where she covered government and communities across Pierce County.

Her work included an award-winning investigation into a deadly boat launch in Tacoma. Before joining KNKX in November 2018, Kari worked for her alma mater, Pacific Lutheran University, where she served as senior editor of the institution’s magazine, producing long-form storytelling from Parkland to Norway.

Kari also worked for several years as a college newspaper adviser at the University of Puget Sound, and continues to serve as a passionate advocate for aspiring journalists and student media. She’s a lover of orca whales, wine and Prince. She lives in Tacoma with her husband and their lovable 75-pound lapdog, Bernie.

Ways to Connect

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor talks on his phone at a staging area at the ferry terminal in Steilacoom in 2018, after a plane was stolen from Sea-Tac Airport and crashed.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

Against a backdrop of mounting scrutiny and calls for change, Pierce County voters will elect a new sheriff for the first time in nearly two decades.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor announced in October that he would retire after serving for 19 years — the longest tenure for a sitting sheriff in the state’s second-largest county.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

We have all been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in our own ways. And the Sound Effect team has been doing our best to cover it in a podcast called Transmission. Today on Sound Effect, we share some more stories that have stood out to us from the series.

Monet Carter-Mixon (center), sister of Manuel Ellis, joined Ellis' family and friends Sunday for a balloon release celebrating the late father of two, who was killed March 3 in Tacoma police custody.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

“You are loved. You are missed. You are remembered.”

Those were the words printed on dozens of balloons that were released into the air in downtown Tacoma on Father’s Day, during an event honoring Manuel Ellis.  

Katrina Johnson, cousin to the late Charleena Lyles, spoke at a rally on June 18, 2020, the three-year anniversary of Lyles' death.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Katrina Johnson stood alongside a score of families Thursday morning, demanding justice for a long list of Black men and women whose lives were taken by police officers, both here and across the country.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

We have all been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in our own ways. And the Sound Effect team has been doing our best to cover it in a podcast called Transmission. Today on Sound Effect, we share some more stories that have stood out to us from the series.

The family of Manuel Ellis and their attorney, James Bible, address reporters during a news conference Tuesday in Tacoma. They renewed calls for the state to lead an independent investigation into Ellis' killing on March 3.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Gov. Jay Inslee says he’s convinced the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department shouldn’t lead the investigation into the killing of Manuel Ellis. He announced Wednesday that the state is reviewing how the investigation should proceed, including who will make charging decisions.  

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

UPDATE, June 10: Gov. Jay Inslee says he's convinced the Pierce County Sheriff's Department can't lead the investigation into Manuel Ellis' death. The governor is working with Attorney General Bob Ferguson to decide how the investigation will proceed. Read the latest developments here

The family of Manuel Ellis has released a new video from the night Ellis was killed in police custody. Their attorney says it shows a man "begging for his life." 

Paul Currington as a boy.
Courtesy of Paul Currington

This story originally aired on June 29, 2019.

Sitting in an emergency room, trying to catch his breath, Paul Currington had one thought playing over and over in his mind: “Please, God, please don’t let my last thoughts on Earth be of my mother.”

They weren’t his last thoughts, especially of his mother.

Growing up, Currington’s mother smoked two to three packs a day — always enveloped in clouds of smoke. She had a volcanic temper, he says: “I would do anything to not have to go home so I wouldn’t have to show up in her crosshairs.”

Protesters gather outside the County-City Building in Tacoma on Friday, demanding justice for Manuel Ellis, who was killed while in police custody March 3. His death was ruled a homicide, according to a report made public this week.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The family of Manuel Ellis spoke, and the Tacoma City Council listened. 

The council unanimously voted Friday to submit a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, calling for a state-sanctioned independent review of Ellis’ death. Ellis died March 3 in police custody. His death was ruled a homicide, in a medical examiner’s report made public this week. The cause was lack of oxygen due to physical restraint. 

Hundreds gathered at a vigil Wednesday night to remember Manuel Ellis, who died March 3 in the custody of Tacoma police officers. His death has been ruled a homicide by the Pierce County medical examiner, and the officers have been placed on leave.
Joel Schomberg/Longhouse Media

Marcia Carter says she cried for two months and 10 days, waiting for answers about the death of her son, Manuel Ellis. This week, she got some. But now the family is left with even more questions. 

“We want answers,” Carter said Thursday, outside the Pierce County Superior Court, flanked by representatives from the regional chapter of the NAACP and the activist group Tacoma Action Collective. “No more talking.” 

Four Tacoma police officers were placed on administrative leave Wednesday, after a report from the Pierce County medical examiner became public. It ruled Ellis’ death a homicide, caused by a lack of oxygen due to physical restraint. Ellis died in police custody during an arrest in South Tacoma on March 3.

People block traffic as they lay face down on the street in an intersection in Tacoma, Wash., for 8 minutes and 46 seconds during a protest Monday, June 1, 2020 against police brutality and the death of George Floyd.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Hundreds of Tacoma residents flooded the city's streets Monday, to protest police brutality and systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd's death.

Thousands of protesters flooded downtown Seattle on Saturday, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier in the week. The demonstrations turned violent, prompting Seattle officials to institute a curfew for the city.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has issued several emergency orders in response to peaceful protests that turned violent on Saturday in the city’s downtown core.

She issued an order of civil emergency prohibiting the use of weapons, formal and informal, and instituted curfews Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m.-5 a.m.

The Point Ruston development in Pierce County, home to many local businesses, is among the places that have been quieter after businesses shuttered due to the novel coronavirus. Those businesses may be cleared to open up soon.
Tom Collins / KNKX

Pierce County is preparing to reopen its economy, after Gov. Jay Inslee announced a more flexible strategy  for easing social-distancing restrictions in counties across Washington.

Friday’s announcement came just as the governor’s original stay-home order was set to expire Monday.

In an exclusive interview with KNKX Public Radio, County Executive Bruce Dammeier said officials plan to move swiftly on an application to begin reopening the economy under the new criteria of Inslee’s so-called Safe Start plan.

Bridget Parkhill, right, talks on the phone as she visits with her mother, Susan Hailey, center, who tested positive for the new coronavirus, Thursday, April 2, 2020, at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that long-term care facilities statewide will have access to widespread testing for all their residents and staff in the coming weeks.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

In many ways, “family planning” is a misnomer. The “planning” part only goes so far. Even with all the tools at your disposal, a lot of it is mostly out of your control and up to chance. A million little things have to go exactly right to bring life into the world. 

When you throw a global pandemic into the equation, the typical uncertainty that comes with starting a family is amplified to tremendous proportions. 

In this episode of Transmission, we explore how the response to COVID-19 has altered the lives of growing families. 

Courtesy Kari Plog

When my husband, Christian, and I talked about starting our family, we knew only so much would be within our control. But we never imagined just how out of our control everything would get.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

We have all been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in our own ways. And the Sound Effect team has been doing our best to cover it in a podcast called Transmission. Today on Sound Effect, we share some more stories that have stood out to us from the series.

Dr. Karen Cline-Parhamovich stands in the autopsy suite at the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office in Tacoma on May 11, 2020. She starts work as the new chief medical examiner Monday.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Pierce County is finally getting a new medical examiner, after nearly a year and a half of turmoil and uncertainty.

The County Council confirmed Dr. Karen Cline-Parhamovich in a unanimous vote Tuesday. Cline attended the meeting remotely after recently relocating here from New Mexico, where she has served as interim chief medical investigator for the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator. She begins work in Pierce County on Monday. 

Thomas Kyle-Milward (center) with his Milk and Scotch teammates at the Columbia County Fair in Oregon in 2014. He was "very insulted" when competitors talked trash about his overalls. But they weren't laughing after he beat them to the finish line.
Courtesy of Thomas Kyle-Milward

This story originally aired on May 25, 2019.

Thomas Kyle-Milward wears a tie to work, but deep down he’s still a farm boy.

Kyle-Milward grew up on a small family farm outside Portland, Oregon. The farm had its own rhythm: morning and evening chores, planting, harvest. And every year — the Columbia County Fair.

Kyle-Milward is building a life in urban Tacoma now, but he still makes it out for the fair each summer. And, as he’ll proudly share, he brings along bragging rights as the 2014 wild cow milking champion.

Windows in the Seattle skyline light up in the shape of a heart, offering encouragement for a city reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

It’s been less than two months since residents were ordered to stay home to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. And it will be at least another two months before life starts to resemble normal again, according to a plan released Friday by Gov. Jay Inslee’s office.

Inslee announced that he’ll extend the stay-at-home order Monday, the day it’s set to expire, until at least May 31. But he also announced a phased plan that will slowly reopen public life across Washington state over the coming weeks and months.

Deception Pass State Park
Geoffrey Redick / KNKX

Gov. Jay Inslee has turned his proverbial dial another notch toward normal. The governor announced Monday afternoon that some recreation may resume across Washington state, including hunting, fishing and golfing. 

“Reconnecting people to nature is the first step in the journey back to normalcy,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. She joined the governor and other state leaders for Monday’s announcement, the latest development in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A crane towers over a building under construction in Tacoma in late summer 2019.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Washington state has reached a small milestone in the fight against COVID-19: some construction projects may resume, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday. 

But there are strings attached to the loosened guidelines, and resuming work relies on a continued downward trend of novel coronavirus cases.  

Gibraltar Senior Living, located in the Parkland area of unincorporated Tacoma, has experienced an outbreak of COVID-19 among its residents and staff. The long-term care facility serves formerly homeless and mentally ill residents.
Kari Plog / KNKX

State officials are investigating how COVID-19 managed to infect a majority of residents at a Pierce County long-term care facility, which houses many residents who are formerly homeless and suffering from severe mental illness. 

An artist paints murals outside the shuttered Sonic Boom Records in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle on April 9, 2020.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Gov. Jay Inslee has unveiled what it’s going to take for Washington state to return to normal again. And while the plan is thorough, it still doesn’t specify how soon the transition could begin in the face of this unpredictable pandemic.  

Adrian Florez / KNKX

We have all been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in our own ways. And the Sound Effect team has been doing our best to cover it in a new podcast called Transmission. Today on Sound Effect, we share some of the stories that have stood out to us from the podcast so far.

This story originally aired on March 23, 2019.

Despite Seattle’s reputation as a progressive place, it has a complicated history to reckon with. One chapter of the city’s story is branded with a racist caricature — which pervaded the region beyond the restaurant the image represented: the Coon Chicken Inn.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Today’s episode: Saying Goodbye.

When a person infected with COVID-19 dies, those precious final moments aren’t spent with loved ones at their bedside. They’re spent surrounded by doctors and nurses, dressed head to toe in protective gear.

One nurse at a hospital in Issaquah, east of Seattle, wanted to do what she could to connect a mother and daughter one last time.

Using FaceTime, Tatyana Huber held her personal cellphone up to Carolann Gann’s face, so her daughter could share her final message of love and forgiveness.

Michelle Bennett talks to her mother, Carolann Gann, using FaceTime. Tatyana Huber, a charge nurse at Swedish Issaquah, connected mother and daughter one last time, before Gann died of COVID-19 on March 26.
Courtesy of Michelle Bennett

When people die after becoming infected with COVID-19, they typically spend their final moments in isolation, surrounded only by nurses and doctors. A nurse in Issaquah recently made it possible for a mother and daughter to connect one last time.

Windows are boarded up at Seattle's Lost Lake Cafe, after Gov. Jay Inslee ordered the statewide closure of businesses and dine-in restaurants. Inslee announced Thursday that he's extending his stay-at-home order by five weeks.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Gov. Jay Inslee is prolonging the timeline of his statewide stay-at-home order by a month, the latest in a series of extraordinary measures aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.  

Photos courtesy of Michelle Bennett. Illustration by Parker Miles Blohm/KNKX

Michelle Bennett couldn’t hold her mother’s hand in those final moments, 10 days after Carolann Christine Gann tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Bennett couldn’t even go through her mother’s belongings as she prepared to bury her.

So two people in protective gear did what she couldn't.